Properties of Oils and Butters



One of the most alluring aspects of using natural, handmade soap and skincare is controlling what is in the products, and being able to choose which oils, butters and other ingredients you want to use.





Almond Oil, Sweet:  Prunus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil


This nutrient-rich oil is suitable for all skin types. Almond Oil is recommended for chapped, itchy or irritated skin and is a popular inclusion for use in massage and general skin care formulations. It is excellent for use in healing and moisturizing dry and chapped skin. A few drops in facial masks helps with facial dryness. Sweet Almond Oil exhibits excellent penetrating qualities, low comedogenicity and good spread-ability on the skin, making it ideal as a massage oil or as a carrier for Essential Oils.



Apricot Kernel Oil: Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil


This oil is a lightweight oil, and a little finer and more expensive than Sweet Almond Oil, but it has similar actions. Apricot is a little lighter textured than many oils and is extracted from apricot pits;  it is high in mineral and vitamin content.  Useful in Lip Balm and lotions.  High in linoleic and oleic acids it is often a key ingredient in facial tonics and cosmetics, this oil is very useful in the care of mature, sensitive, dry or inflamed skin.



Avocado Butter: Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil/Hydrogenated Avocado Oil


This butter is obtained from the fruit of the Avocado tree (Persea Gratissima) which grows in sub-tropical regions of the world. The butter is created from the oil of the Avocado fruit through a unique hydrogenation process which yields a soft, yellowish butter with mild odour. Avocado Butter has excellent melting properties which makes it very suitable for skin care. This butter can be used in all types of soap and skincare products to improved moisturization and softens rough, dry skin. In soap Avocado Butter offers the same benefits as the oil - a rich, luxurious and nourishing ingredient that contributes to moisturizing and conditioning at a superfatting level.



Avocado Oil: Persea Americana Oil


Avocado Oil exhibits excellent penetrating qualities and good spreadability on the skin, making it ideal as a massage oil or carrier oil for Essential Oils. Avocado oil is extracted from the pulp of avocado fruit and is best used at 15% of less in cold process soap or the hardness of the bar will be affected.  Avocado has a high percentage of fatty acids and unsaponifiables making it a good addition to soap recipes.  Adds emollience to creams and lotions and bar soaps and exhibits low comedogenicity on the skin. Avocado is a rich, luxurious and nourishing oil that is moisturizing and conditioning and a good inclusion for soap, creams and lotions.  Avocado oil is excellent in hair and scalp formulas.  It absorbs into the skin and scalp easily and is high in Vitamin A & E. It is good for dry and damaged skin and is known to help with eczema and psoriasis - some say even hair loss!  May be used in cosmetics, toiletries, bar soaps, massage oils, hair care and sun care applications.



Calendula Oil (Infused):Calendula officinalis


This oil is made by infusing Calendula Petals in a good carrier (Sweet Almond Oil), which produces a golden yellow coloured oil. Calendula herb is both regenerative and anti-inflammatory and is both softening and soothing to dry skin. Historically it is known for slow-healing wounds, burns, rashes, ulcers, helps stimulate the growth of new tissue, for inflamed, dry and damaged skin and for Eczema and soothing skin eruptions. It is very mild and a great addition for baby soaps, lotions and creams. Good for all skin types. Can be used as a colourant in Soap.



Camellia Oil: Camellia oleifera


Luxurious, silky Cosmetic Grade Camellia Oil is cold pressed and rich in Vitamins A, B and E, which are very useful to combat aging. Camellia Oil is a "non-greasy" oil, excellent for use in skin and hair products. Pressed from the seeds of the fruit, Camellia Oil is high in oleic acid and offers antioxidant properties. Camellia Oil is especially suited for facial use due to its rapid absorbency. Rejuvenating and restorative, giving the skin a radiant glow, it protects from damaging environmental conditions. Camellia promotes the healing of scars, and can be useful in treating freckles and age spots as it promotes elasticity of the skin. Camellia is a very stable oil, which means it has a long shelf life. Highly Recommended for all skin types, but particularly Dry, Mature and Sensitive.



Canola Oil: Canola Oil


Canola can be useful for slowing trace, and producing a whiter bar.  Keep Canola at 10% or lower. and combine with Coconut Oil, Palm Oil and other solid performers in soap.  You can sub a little of the Olive Oil content with Canola too.  It produces a creamy lather.



Carrot Oil (Infused): Daucus Carota


Carrot oil is rich in beta-carotene, vitamins B, C, D, and E, and essential fatty acids. This oil also has an anti- inflammatory action, which makes it a useful treatment for burns. Carrot is often used as an anti-aging treatment and is commonly found in skin creams. Traditionally used for a wide variety of complaints, and is made by extraction of the herb into an oil base. It is obtained from carrot root; this is not the Carrot Seed Essential Oil. This rich golden oil is

high in Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene and is a healing addition to facial oils, creams, balms and lotions for dry and mature skin. Like calendula, its deep orange colour is a brilliant addition to creams and is quite soothing. Colours Soap a bright orange/yellow.



Castor Oil: Ricinus Communis


In a class of its own!  Castor is thick and viscous and is a staple in combination with other vegetable oils to produce a nice soap with wonderful long lasting lather. However, use it on its own, and the result will be a soft bar of soap. Castor oil added to your soap will increase lather significantly, but I find its best to stick at 15% or under.  Superb addition to shaving soaps.  Castor Oil is known to be of help to dry and aging skin because of its humectant properties. Good for all skin types. Use in lip balms for a glossy smacker type balm.



Cocoa Butter: Theobroma Cacao


Cocoa Butter is obtained from the fruit of the Cacao tree which grows in tropical regions throughout the world. The butter is extracted from the seed kernels and is further refined to yield a tan/yellow coloured butter with pleasant cocoa (chocolate-like) odour.  A hard butter with steep melting curve ideal for body care products, particularly for soap and when thickness/hardness together with emollience is required.  Cocoa Butter has wonderful skin softening and moisturizing properties, and can be used to make balms and creams thicker and harder, with or without beeswax.  Good for normal to dry skin. When I use it in soap, I substitute it for one of the hard oils like Palm or Coconut, and I use it because of the smoothness it will give a light cocoa scent that enhances and gives depth to fragrant oils like Raspberry.  Cocoa Butter may be used in a variety of cosmetic, toiletry and pharmaceutical applications to reduce dryness and improve skin elasticity.



Coconut Oil: Cocos nucifera


This is one of THE oils for soap making that gives natural soap its lather.  In its natural form it is very good for the skin. Natural Coconut Oil can be used in soaps, creams and lotions and is good for all skin types.  It makes a hard bar with big bubbly lather.... an absolute must for veggie soaps.  Needs to be properly balanced with conditioning oils because it does such a good job of cleaning.  Coconut produces big, generous bubbles.



Evening Primrose Oil: Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil


Evening Primrose is a tall spiky plant that only blooms in the evening, hence its common name. Its origins can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome. In more modern times, it was widely used in the 17th century in Britain and was nicknamed as "king cure-all" and also as a medicinal plant by Native North Americans.  Evening Primrose typically contains a minimum 9% GLA, which contributes to good cellular health.  More of a skin healer, than a soaping oil. It is one of the few plant sources of GLA (gamma-linoleic acid) which is very therapeutic both internally and in natural skin care products. It is an excellent treatment for dry, flaky skin and skin prone to Eczema.  May be used in treatments to help promote healthy cell regeneration.



Grapeseed Oil: Vitis Vinifera


Grape Seed Oil is a polyunsaturated oil that is rich in linoleic acid. It is obtained from the seeds of grapes and has excellent skin spreadability and penetrates quickly. It contains the highest amounts of linoleic acid among any oil or food source.  Linoleic is an essential fatty acid, which means that we must consume it in our diet since our bodies cannot produce it; It is a necessity for many functions that maintain normal cell growth throughout our body.  This is a green tinted oil and is often used as a massage oil and as a base oil for lotions and creams for its emollient properties. It is economical and freely available in your supermarket.  It is widely used for hair conditioning and styling, imparting a rich silky lustre and enhancing hair growth.  This is a light, penetrating oil and is nourishing for all skin types.



Hemp Seed Oil: Cannabis sativa


True decadence! Hemp Seed Oil has been used for centuries in skin care due to its excellent moisturizing properties.

It is one of the "driest" natural oils available, penetrating quickly! Hemp Seed Oil is valued for cosmetics and toiletries due to its high content of Essential Fatty Acids, which helps the action of hydro lipid coat (reducing TEWL (Trans- Epidermal Water Loss). This lovely dark rich green oil, at over 65% linoleic and oleic, is considered a conditioning oil in Soap Making, but is definitely not for making hard bars! A valuable source of essential fatty acids, high in minerals and Vitamin A. This wonderful emollient oil that is used in lotions, creams, hair conditioners and natural soap. Use a small amount to impart a pale green colour to your face creams. Once saponified your hemp soap retains its gorgeous colour. Great in shampoo bars.. Hemp Seed Oil is particularly useful for dry and damaged skin (i.e. eczema, psoriasis and mastalgia.) Hemp provides high fluidity and excellent lubricity without being too greasy.



Jojoba: Simmondsia Chinensis


Jojoba is unique in that it is a liquid wax not an oil: it is a cold pressed ester (actually an array of Esters) from the seeds of the desert shrub Simmondsia Chinensis which is found growing in arid areas throughout the world.  Jojoba has been used for many years in skin care products because of the healing power that it imparts - It is said to be closely related to human sebum and this makes it very compatible with our skin. It is also said to help fight Acne and Pimples and is wonderful for dry and damaged skin. Jojoba has a very good effect on the skin acting as a moisturizer and emollient agent to improve skin elasticity and suppleness.



Macadamia Oil: Macadamia integrifolia


Macadamia Oil is obtained by cold pressing of the seeds of the Macadamia ternifolia tree followed by a full refining process to render oil that is light in colour and mild in odour. The Macadamia tree is a Native Australian rainforest tree, which is evergreen and grows up to 15 meters high. It provides a seed (nut) that is used in confectionery, cooking and now finding its way into cosmetics and soap. Macadamia Oil will not stain clothing, and it has excellent dermal penetration, making it an ideal massage oil. Macadamia is particularly nourishing for dry skin (it is a rich source of palmi oleic acid also found in sebum). Quite a soft oil in soap, and gives a lovely silky feel and look to your soap. Definitely used for its moisturizing benefits, and the texture it gives in Soap, Macadamia Oil offers an exceptionally good emolliency.



Mango Butter: Mangifera Indica


Mango Butter is obtained from the fruit seed of the Mango Tree grown in the sub-tropics of India and other parts of the world. From its seed a firm butter is rendered, suitable for soaps, cosmetics, toiletries and pharmaceuticals. Mango Butter exhibits excellent moisturizing for lotions and good lubricity on skin. It is a great addition to soap, body products and lip balms due to its moisturizing properties. Rich and luxurious, Shea or Mango is a must in Lotion Bars and Lip Balms. Mango Butter melts readily at skin temperatures making it ideal for sticks, and balms. It is a staple in CP Soap due to the luxurious feel it contributes.



Meadowfoam Seed Oil: Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil


Meadowfoam Seed Oil re-moisturizes the skin and hair in ways no other oil does it is excellent in lip balms too for cracked and dry lips. Meadowfoam is a very stable oil and is high in naturally occurring tocopherols and has a long shelf life. Meadowfoam oil was developed to replace sperm whale oil in the 1970s. The oil from the Meadowfoam plant is recognized for its outstanding oxidative stability which means not only it has a long shelf life, but when blended with other oils, assists lengthen their shelf life too. Meadowfoam is a mild oil which is perfect for sensitive skin and baby products too and gives good slip when used in massage blends. Use Meadowfoam oil in lotion bars and lip balms to extend the shelf life.



Neem Oil: Azadirachtin indica (Neem) Oil


This oil has a VERY distinctive smell and is known for its help with skin problems like Eczema, Psoriasis, and Dry Skin and as a natural Pesticide for farming. The usage recommendations are about 0 5% for soap making. It can be used up to 10% for healing skin care soap for people, but with Dog Soap, it is safe to halve this amount. Neem tends to solidify in cooler weather - gently warm back to liquid. Neem oil has antiseptic properties and can be used in the treatment of dandruff, skin conditions, and oily skin. This oil also has use in insect repellants if you can take the odour!



Olive Butter: Olea europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil (and) Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil


Olive butter is derived from Olive Oil (Olea europaea) specifically from the Mediterranean area, and is obtained by the cold pressing of selected fruits which makes for a light but rich and soft buttery raw material. Olive Butter is a stable cosmetic butter made from Olive Oil and solid vegetable oils... This cold-pressed Olive Oil is a complex triglyceride containing fatty acids, such as oleic and linoleic acid, tocopherols, squalene and polyphenols. In cosmetic preparations, Olive Butter exhibits excellent spreadability on the skin, making it ideal as a Massage Butter (just add Essential Oils if desired) or as carrier for Essential Oils and actives. Olive Butter helps to moisturize and condition dry skin while adding body to formulations. Olive Butter is recommended for products such as balms, creams, lotions, lip balms, and cleansing products.



Olive Oil: Olea europaea


This oil is very good for the skin, soothing and emollient, a great all rounder oil for cosmetics.Great in a massage blend, scalp treatments and I use it sparingly in skin creams.  Makes what is known as Castile soap, which to be true to its name should be 100% Olive Oil. It makes for small, compact lather when used alone, but you can add a bit of Castor Oil to make larger and longer lasting bubbles.  By itself it will make quite a hard bar if left to cure a good few months, if not dried sufficiently, may feel a little slimy. When Castile soap has 5 - 10% (or more) other oil and butters including for faster curing and larger lather, it becomes known as "bastile or bastille" cold process soap.



Rice Bran Oil: Oryza sativa


Has a lovely silky nature that is fabulous in soap, scrubs and lotions. Use it at around 10% to make a lovely silky lather. Rice Bran Oil has reasonable amounts of linoleic which make it conditioning and give bubbles, but enough oleic to make it more resistant to rancidity. It has become a "must" like Castor in Soap Making. Rice Bran Oil is excellent for use in skin care too. Rice Bran Oil is stable to oxidation and contains Vitamin-E group anti-oxidants such as Tocopherol, and Tocotrienol. Rice Bran Oil has only recently become popular in the Western World, but it has been used traditionally in Japan and other countries for a very long time. The oil has a lovely feel in formulations.



Rosehip Oil: Rosa Canina


Pure, Cold Pressed Rosehip Oil is high in Vitamin A and is classified as a Base or Fixed Oil, which means it can be used directly on the skin. This rejuvenating Oil assists the healing of scars - lessening the formation of keloid scar tissue (ugly raised thickened scars) and is helpful in the treatment of burns and stretch marks and in after Sun Care Creams. Use in skin healing salves and creams to accelerate healing and tissue regeneration. High in Vitamin A, Rosehip Oil is very useful for very Dry, and Damaged Skin, Sunburn, Age Spots, Wrinkles and in Eye Creams. Rosehip is non-greasy, absorbed quickly and is safe to apply directly, even on sensitive skin.



Sesame Oil: Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil


Sesame Oil is used in Ayurvedic medicine and is said to be beneficial for Psoriasis, Eczema, Rheumatism, and Arthritis.



Shea Butter: Butyrospermum Parkii


Shea Butter (also known as Karite Butter or African Butter) is obtained from the seed of the Karite Tree (Butyrospermum Parkii) common to West Africa. From the seeds a soft, pliant "butter" is expeller pressed without the use of solvents (or gases), making it suitable for use in soaps, cosmetics, toiletries and OTC Pharmaceuticals. Shea Butter is well known to assist skin dryness;  Shea melts at skin temperature, making it ideal for lip and body balms as well as bar soaps, lotions and skin creams Shea has generous moisturizing properties and is about 8% unsaponifiable which makes it a great addition for soaps.  It does contribute a satiny feel to your finished bar.



St Johns Wort, Infused: Hypericum Infused Oil



When Hypericum is infused into a good carrier oil like Olive or Sweet Almond; it becomes a ruby red colour. It has been used for giving relief to muscular pain and to help relieve nervous skin rashes. It is an anti-inflammatory oil that is soothing and helpful to wounds.



Soybean: Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil


Similar to using Canola in your soap.   It is a conditioning, but soft oil with stable lather.  Makes quite a slippery bar, and blends well with lots of hard oils to make your soap last.  This oil is quite smooth on the skin.



Sunflower Oil: Helianthus Annuus (SunFLower) Seed Oil


An emollient oil extracted from sunflower seeds. Rich in essential fatty acids, it is a good base for massage oils, creams, lotions and natural soap. Sunflower will slow trace in cold process soap which is useful for those who like to  *play*, but does has a short shelf life, so use it when you purchase it and make sure its fresh, keeping the percentage low. Excellent for use in cosmetics as it will not irritate the skin or aggravate acne, so its good for all skin types.



Wheatgerm Oil: Tritcum durum


Wheatgerm Oil is expeller pressed without the use of chemical solvents.  Wheatgerm is rich in octacosanol—a potent source of energy. it is also rich in naturally occurring antioxidants including vitamin E and Beta Carotene, and also contains naturally occurring phosphatides and phytosterols.  It is also purported to enhance cellular health. This deep orange/brown oil has a distinguishing strong smell. Due to its level of Vitamin E, which is a natural Antioxidant, it has a long shelf life. The oil itself makes a rich ingredient and is a good addition to facial creams, lotions and oil blends.




Sources available upon request.